• Homemade Switch Controllers For Atlas, Peco, Kato & Tomix

    Here are some designs for simple remote controllers for switches.

    These are the designs for Atlas, Peco, Bachmann Arnold, Roco or any other switch machines using three wires for control. These switch controllers work with AC or DC power.
    http://www.nscale.net/forums/attachm...1&d=1321643487

    These are the designs for Kato, Tomix or any other switch machines using two wires for control. These switch controllers use DC power only!
    http://www.nscale.net/forums/attachm...1&d=1304718291

    As far as turnout control goes I think these designs are as simple and cheap as it gets.

    The designs that use a push button before the toggle switch can be set up with one push button feeding power to multiple switches, the same as a CTC machine. They can also be wired with a button for each switch so they can be activated individually.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Homemade Switch Controllers For Atlas, Peco, Kato & Tomix started by ChicagoNW View original post
    Comments 24 Comments
    1. no comment's Avatar
      no comment -
      never mind figgured it out
    1. Claymore1977's Avatar
      Claymore1977 -
      Two questions/comments:

      AC applied to a coil wouldn't (Shouldn't?) develop a unidirectional magnetic field and thus wouldn't (shouldn't?) make for anything other than a vibrating solenoid?

      12VDC applied across two coils would develop half the torque of a coil rated for 12vdc.

      These are just 'theory' comments as i haven't bench tested these. Have you used these controllers with success?
    1. ChicagoNW's Avatar
      ChicagoNW -
      Twin coil machines (top four designs) use the magnetic field to pull an iron slug back and forth to move the points of the switch. You actually select one coil or the other with the button or switch. Because of this magnetic pole direction does not matter. If you hold down the button on an Atlas controller (design 1), you will hear it buzz. A single pole double throw switch can be substituted for all the twin coil designs except for the one with the LEDs. Single coil machine use magnetic polarity to move a magnet attached to the points. Voltage is not important as I've used a AA battery to operate a Tomix switch. To a single coil machine as used in Kato and Tomix the DC current is really required as polarity is the rating force. . AC current will just make the points buzz back and forth. The LED circuits are the only ones that I've not built. The whole idea on the majority of the designs was to remove the mystery of electronics. So simple mechanical devices were used.
    1. Claymore1977's Avatar
      Claymore1977 -
      That's pretty neat about using a AA battery on a coil like that. I never would have guessed that a 12VDC rated coil could be moved by 1.5VDC. Neat

      The thing that still baffles me is the AC voltage applied to a coil and actually getting single direction solenoid motion.... this I'm going to have to test because it goes against most of what I've learned over the years. (not saying anyone's wrong, but I prefer to settle theory debates with actual experimentation!)

      You've got very nice/professional looking schematics by the way!
    1. this_random_guy's Avatar
      this_random_guy -
      Looking at the third example for the kato switch, i don't understand the setup. My knowledge of circuit design is very limited. What is the orange wire used for?
    1. ChicagoNW's Avatar
      ChicagoNW -
      The switch controls two different functions. The brown wires are the 12v DC power source. The green wires change the polarity of the incoming current. The red wires carry the current to and from the coils. The purple wire caries current to the LEDs The zig-zag line is a resistor. The orange wire takes it back to the source. The triangles with the line represent diodes. The red and green ones with the arrows pointing away from them are Light Emitting Diodes.

      The triple throw double pole switch could control three actions but here it is used to control two circuits from one power source. The one using the green wires selects the polarity of the current to the coils. the other section selects which LED gets power.

      The LEDs are wired so that either the red or green is lighted as long as the power is on. The push button is to energize the turnout motor.

      Hope this helps. Don't be afraid to ask more questions.
    1. 69Z28's Avatar
      69Z28 -
      Oh Boy!!! "The whole idea on the majority of the designs was to remove the mystery of electronics."
      For me I'm still in the dark and the mystery is still there.
      See ya
      Ron
    1. ChicagoNW's Avatar
      ChicagoNW -
      Quote Originally Posted by 69Z28 View Post
      Oh Boy!!! "The whole idea on the majority of the designs was to remove the mystery of electronics."
      For me I'm still in the dark and the mystery is still there.
      See ya
      Ron
      Well Ron I've got a LED candle in my hand. Maybe I can lead you out of the dark. Ask your questions.

      But when it gets to how electricity and electronics work, that's my Uncle's gig, he designed bits of the Saturn V and Fermi Lab.

      I'm just real good at twisting the right wires together. (black to black, white to white, green to green)

      So all I've done is avoid the mysteries.
    1. this_random_guy's Avatar
      this_random_guy -
      If im seeing this right, the anode goes into the switch and the cathode to the return, and the return gets hooked into the neg wire? So, correct me if im wrong: when choosing the resistor for the LED, you would use ohms law (V=I/R). Lets say I use this LED http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2062551, rated at 2.2V 10mah, to find the resistance i would rewrite the formula to (R=V/I). So, R would be 1880ohm from ((12-2.2)/.01).
    1. ejholden's Avatar
      ejholden -
      Random,
      1880 ohm seems a bit much .... The calculator I use suggests 1000 ohm ....

      Try the KISS method ...
      http://ledcalc.com/


      Attachment 22118
    1. ChicagoNW's Avatar
      ChicagoNW -
      Some how your math came out wonky.

      12-2.2=9.8

      9.8/.01 = 980

      A 980 ohm resistor is not common so an extra 20 ohms won't hurt. So we go with EJ's 1K ohm.

      When in doubt about a resistor with LED around N scale's 12 volts.
      A 1000 ohm resistor is a good default choice.
    1. this_random_guy's Avatar
      this_random_guy -
      Oops, your right, i didnt add the () when i threw it in my calc. I posted the correct format but didnt calculate it that way.

      Ok, now for a simple question. I would use the middle design, is a center off required or would I be able to use a standard DPDT?
    1. ChicagoNW's Avatar
      ChicagoNW -
      A standard DPDT would be fine.
      I buy the center off, so I get a neutral or off(lock out) position.
      Also I try to standardize as many things as possible.
    1. mukilteojoe's Avatar
      mukilteojoe -
      In the middle design for DC, a standard DPDT substitutes (sort of) for the LED's because it shows which way the switch is thrown, assuming the momentary switch has been pushed.
    1. ChicagoNW's Avatar
      ChicagoNW -
      You are correct! Sir.

      The fourth designs with the LEDs were modifications of that one as some people may want to add lights to the control board, at a signal near the switch or both.
    1. k0ncept's Avatar
      k0ncept -
      I do not like the size of the kato switch controllers, and would MUCH rather have smaller DPDT switches controlling them... I need to get my hands on some switches and try this out! Thank You...
    1. ChicagoNW's Avatar
      ChicagoNW -
      Don't be afarid to ask any questions.
    1. new2nscale's Avatar
      new2nscale -
      Okay, so I have my Kato turnout with motor attached underneath. I have my DPDT on-off-on Momentary switch, and a AA battery. Is that truly all I need to power a Kato turnout ??? I know this sounds lazy, but is there ANY way to do this WITHOUT soldering ?? I'm a plug-n-play kinda guy when it comes to anything electrical, and would love to be able to attach the wires to the switch without the bother (and skill) of soldering.......anyone ???
    1. ChicagoNW's Avatar
      ChicagoNW -
      You need wire too!

      The Kato factory controller is completely plug and play. No soldering required.
      The plug on the switch connects to the controller and the controller plugs into the Kato powerpack or the AC adapter unit which attaches to the AC terminals of your non-Kato Powerpack. If you need more distance Kato sells extension cords.

      The only soldering you could remove is to go th the RC Hobby shop and buy the matching connector to the Kato connector. It's used to connect batteries in Remote Control Models.

      You could avoid soldering if you wrapped the bare wires instead of soldered them but those connections are temporary.

      These controllers are a great way to help you practice soldering. If you get the connector for the Kato turnout, you don't have to worry about ruining the Unitrack. Remember these connections just have to work. They don't have to be pretty.

      If you buy your switches by the dozen they become cheaper. It won't hurt as much if you melt one.
    1. new2nscale's Avatar
      new2nscale -
      Well of course I know I need wire. I should have made clear I do NOT want to use those blue Kato switches. I have a few momentary DPDT switches, and will use those in a panel I make crudely outlining my track plan. I was wondering if there was a way to avoid soldering all the wires to those DPDT's, but I guess I'll have to learn......then its that and a double aa battery holder, as I'm going that route for power. I've heard that is all that's needed to throw the Kato turnouts, power-wise. So is THAT it ??? Hopefully I'll be off and running soon...doing some switching on the layout and having fun.....thanks for the info